The whole world is watching…

Never in history has a drama been watched simultaneously by a billion people. I would have given a fat chunk of copper ore to have been a fly on the wall in that 2300 foot hole, and to have witnessed the social structure of inter-dependence that those 33 men developed to keep body and soul together for those harrowing ten weeks.

Journalists, writers, media, communicators – artists – have an opportunity to run with this extraordinary story, which the government of Chile stage-managed down to the razors, Chilean flag shirts, and the books of tips about how to deal with the media that were sent down to the miners before they surfaced to the flood of cameras. But forget the theater. Can this spectacle bring us together to make the world a better place?  Could it be a rare chance to see what people are forced to risk their lives to put food on the table: dangerous mining work that pillages the planet for minerals and fossil fuel, creating conflict and producing a wealth that few workers share?

Maybe all of us are in that dangling capsule, interconnected in fragile times, wondering just what we’ve traded to get this short time on – or in—the earth.

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WHO NEEDS SLEEP? receives standing ovation


Haskell in his 12on12off Hat

WHO NEEDS SLEEP? receives standing ovation at Labourstart 2010 Global Solidarity Conference!

Trade union delegates from over 28 countries and members of the Toronto film and television community attended a screening of Who Needs Sleep? followed by a lively discussion with Haskell Wexler on Saturday, July 10, 2010 as part of the first annual Labourstart 2010 Global Solidarity Conference.

Brothers and sisters from across the labour movement pledged their support and solidarity for the 12on12off campaign, expressing their shock at the industry standard for working hours and the total unwillingness of the unions to address the issue, despite a clear message from the rank and file that this is a crisis situation.

A number of university professors and union educators said they will be using the film as part of their curriculum.

With thanks to the support, wisdom and expertise of brothers and sisters from other unions, efforts are underway to develop a political and organizing campaign to move 12on12off forward across North America, including screenings for industry workers, enhanced petition efforts and the development of organizing kits.


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UCLA Commencement

LOS ANGELES, June 16, 2009 – Cinematographer Haskell Wexler, A.S.C., received The UCLA Medal, the university’s highest honor, at the 2009 UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television commencement on June 12.

The UCLA Medal was created in 1979 and is awarded to those who have made truly extraordinary and distinguished contributions to their professions and to our society.

Recipients have included national and international leaders in government, education, science, industry and the arts, as well as men and women who have advanced UCLA’s development into one of the world’s preeminent universities.

Wexler is renowned for his Oscar wins for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Bound for Glory. His credits include such notable movies as American Graffiti, In the Heat of the Night, The Thomas Crown Affair, Matewan and Coming Home.

Wexler is recognized not only as an influential filmmaker and storyteller, but also as a leading social commentator. Through such influential films as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Bound for Glory and Medium Cool, he put a human face on conflicts between family members, social classes and nations at war.

Born in Chicago, he attended UC Berkeley before leaving to serve in World War II. His career began in Illinois, where after creating a studio with his father, he began to learn film production. After landing his first job as a cinematographer in 1958, he went on to work with such legendary directors as Elia Kazan, Mike Nichols, Norman Jewison and Milos Forman.

For UCLA students, he has generously shared his resources and vast knowledge, entrusting footage from his own work to the Film & Television Archive. He also has lectured to UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television classes and mentored alumni.

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Woodstock Film Festival

I am just returning from the Woodstock Film Festival. I will hopefully be writing some things about this amazing experience. For the moment, I have posted some video from the event.

Haskell Wexler receives the Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 Woodstock Film Festival. Haskell also presents the Haskell Wexler Best Cinematography Award.

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Amy Goodman and Two Democracy Now! Producers Unlawfully Arrested


“Look out Amy, it’s real”

I have had some personal experience covering protests at National Conventions, in my case being the Democratic National Convention in 1968. It is a really bad sign of the times when they start arresting journalists — at least Amy wasn’t tear gassed.

Amy Goodman and Two Democracy Now! Producers Unlawfully Arrested At the RNC 
September 1, 2008   
Watch Video: 

UPDATE: Amy been released with charges against her. Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar have not are still in jail and may be charged with conspiracy to riot. Please keep calling the numbers below and demand their immediate release:

These calls can be directed to: Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman’s office at 651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0).
ST. PAUL, MN—Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time. Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, as they arrested her.

Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now! producers who were being unlawfully detained. They are Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman’s crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were being arrested on suspicion of rioting. They are currently being held at the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul.
Democracy Now! is calling on all journalists and concerned citizens to call the office of Mayor Chris Coleman and the Ramsey County Jail and demand the immediate release of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar. These calls can be directed to: Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman’s office at 651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0).
Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns this action by Twin Cities law enforcement as a clear violation of the freedom of the press and the First Amendment rights of these journalists.

During the demonstration in which they were arrested law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force. Several dozen others were also arrested during this action.

Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected journalists in the United States. She has received journalism’s top honors for her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage. The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar is a transparent attempt to intimidate journalists from the nation’s leading independent news outlet.

Denis Moynihan:  917-549-5000
Mike Burke:  646-552-5107 –

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Woodstock Film Festival

I am being honored by the Woodstock Film Festival with their first ever Lifetime Achievement Award. The place, Woodstock, is identified with the spirit of the historic concert. The Film Festival continues the sound and images of those rebel artists of the ‘60’s. The Woodstock Film Festival encourages rebels who tell stories artfully and honestly. That is why I am most appreciative of this Woodstock honor.

The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Wexler at the Woodstock Film Festival Award Ceremony on Saturday, October 4th, 2008.

Read the article from










shooting in the boxcar on “Bound For Glory” the Woody Guthrie story

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